The Roundup: On Mocon’s Offense and Malonzo’s Defense

In this version of The Roundup, we’ll look at both sides of the ball, focusing on the potential that Javee Mocon and Jamie Malonzo bring to their respective teams.

Photo from PBA Images

Mocon showing his feel for the game

Javee Mocon’s first conference with the Phoenix Super LPG was a disappointing stint — only averaging 8.7 points, 1.8 assists, and a paltry 27% clip from the three-point line during the 2022 Philippine Cup. An even more concerning matter was that he only put up 9.2 field goal attempts, which is his lowest average since his first PBA conference in 2018. 

With star gunner Matthew Wright now playing in the Japan B.League and the injured Jason Perkins sitting out the ongoing 2022 Commissioner’s Cup, Mocon has taken on a bigger role in the Phoenix offense, and he is thriving in it. He is currently third among locals in scoring (20.0 points) and his shot attempts have increased to 13.8. Along with the uptick in his shot volume, his shooting efficiency (62.3% True Shooting on 50.9/38.9/81.0 shooting splits) has also improved.

With a good inside-outside game, Mocon is providing value for the Phoenix offense in a variety of ways. Of the 33 players currently shooting at least four three-point attempts per game, there are only 10 players norming at least 38%, and Mocon is part of that small group. Moreover, he has always been a good scorer inside the paint, whether it be against taller guys or hunting mismatches at the post.

Another thing that’s very encouraging in Mocon’s play is his increased trips to the free throw line. From 1.3 free throw attempts last conference, the Phoenix forward is now making 81% of his 5.3 free throws per game. There’s no secret to Mocon’s recipe for success, as he almost always has a go-hard mentality when he drives down the lane. Going hard on your drives offers you a better chance of fishing for a foul, and Mocon is taking advantage of that.

The 6-foot-4 Mocon (other sources also list him at 6’3) does not possess elite vertical athleticism nor a quick first step, but what he has is an excellent feel for the game. An underrated part of his game is his ability as a cutter. Whether it be a backdoor cut, dive cut, or flash cut from the low post, Mocon reads the defense well through this facet of his game. Some of the clips below didn’t result in a bucket, but you could see how well Mocon reads the gaps in the defense.

There are still a lot of things that the 27-year-old Mocon has to work on, including his ability to navigate the pick-and-roll as a ballhandler. He may have to improve more on his ballhandling skills, and probably shoot a couple of midrange pull-ups just to play tricks with the opposing team’s pick-and-roll coverage. But these are very workable weaknesses, especially with the skills and basketball smarts that he already has right now.

Early returns on Malonzo’s impact on Ginebra’s defense

Even before acquiring an ultra versatile defender in Jamie Malonzo, Ginebra was already an excellent defensive team. With Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson anchoring their defense, they produced a second-best 100.4 defensive rating last conference. Adding Malonzo to the mix will only tighten up this defense even more, and it’s already showing some positive signs in Ginebra’s first three games this conference. 

One thing that Malonzo will always give you is his effort on both ends of the floor, especially on defense. He hustles back when the opposing team tries a transition attack, and he doesn’t give up on rotating to his man, even when there’s a lot of ground to cover. Combine that level of effort with his lengthy strides and elite leaping ability, Malonzo gives Ginebra head coach Tim Cone another tremendous defender to work with.

Malonzo can also guard players one to four, so he’s very effective when Ginebra decides to switch on certain matchups. 

And how about some weak side help defense to top it off?

While he still has glaring problems on offense (inconsistent jumper, iffy ballhandling, predictable moves when attacking the basket), Malonzo’s impact on defense makes him indispensable in Ginebra’s bid to bounce back from a disappointing quarterfinals exit last conference. 

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